Archive for December, 2012

Tuesday, Dec. 25th – Sunday, Dec. 30th

December 30th, 2012 Comments off

This is a rather lengthy interval for the farm activities.

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Saturday, Dec. 22 – Monday, Dec. 24th.

December 24th, 2012 Comments off

Its Christmas Eve 2012 here on the farm. The last few days have been very quiet, farming-wise. We have milked twice a day, fed the animals, and gotten ready for Christmas. Julia has been on vacation since Friday, although she has been back to check on things a few times. Today she orchestrated a chicken-tractor dance, moving two of the cages with Noah’s help. For his part, Noah fed out some round bales.
Saturday we had some interesting visitors, brought to us by Diane and her warm heart. John and Helen (these are Anglicized names adopted for the convenience of westerners) are from China and are visiting Duke for 3 months. She met them at Exotique and invited them out for a visit on Saturday. I have a few more backpacking trails to look forward to, and I think they both had a good time touring an American farm. We hope to see them again while they are in the states.
Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Goodnight!

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Thursday, Dec. 20th – Friday, Dec. 21st 2012

December 21st, 2012 Comments off

We have had two somewhat exciting days, Hoop House with Plastic but the Apocalypse wasn’t the reason. Yesterday after milking we decided to tackle enclosing the hoop house. Obviously we needed all hands, including Mykah and Jaryn. With Noah pulling over the top, Chris, Julia, Mykah, and Jaryn pulling along the edges we got the plastic all the way over, fastened down at the curtain header, and secured at each end. Mykah was our tractor driver so Noah and I had a platform to stand on while securing the plastic at the top of the hoop. After finishing that job, Noah and I had to run a bunch of errands and make a Santa trip to Gibsonville for a typically insane brain burst that visited me yesterday. Anyway, we had to get going so we didn’t install the side curtains, and that was a problem. Last night the wind started blowing at 40mph and thrashed the curtains into the mud (it was raining as well) so they now look pretty nasty. The gusts also unrolled all the extra plastic and left that in the mud too. Its not damaged, just wrinkled and dirty, but not what I would have preferred. Hoop House with Plastic
At 9:30pm things got interesting. Our power went out with a thump all over our area. Because we now have VOIP, we had no phone except my cell, and of course Duke Power’s outage reporting number was not taking calls. No water, no heat, no light, and we never got to see the end of Person of Interest. But the real worry was what we would do if the outage lasted until morning.
Farms are so dependent on power you have to have a backup generator, and we do. The problem is that since I bought it, we have installed the barn service. So, I began planning: at 7:30am we would fire up the generator in the barn and power the milking equipment. If we were careful we would have enough water to get the milking done; probably not enough to finish the clean up. At the same time I would give the freezers some power. After milking I would bring the generator up to the house and power the pumps and freezers there. And repeat the cycle for however many hours the power was off. Thank God, the power came back on around 7:00am and I felt like we just escaped a bullet, but not by much.
Today after (gratefully) milking with power back, we started the clean-up of the hoop-house wind-damage. The best solution would have been to finish the curtain installation, but I didn’t have time for the whole operation – and – I wanted a nice calm windless day to do that. So, Noah and I tried a stop-gap approach, and I think it will be OK. That done, I took off to town for more errands.

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Wednesday, Dec. 19th, 2012

December 20th, 2012 Comments off

We said a sad “Goodbye” to Conrad this morning. He wanted his last hours here spent doing doing his favorite things: milking, doing the crossword with Julia, and petting Amber. That’s what we did, and then watched him drive off with the rising sun. (A little hyperbole there, but hey, its for Conrad).
The rest of the day Chris, Julia, and I went our separate ways: Chris shopped ’till she dropped; I put up the Christmas tree; Julia was our only farmer. Her list included:

  • The famous DEPOOP effort (Developing Ecological Procedures for Optimal Organics Pickup)
  • Feeding / watering the livestock
  • Cleaning the store refrigerator
  • Refreshing the hay in the chicken’s nest boxes
  • Cleaning out the walk-in cooler
  • transplanting lettuce sprouts for the spring
  • Hopefully, we will include more detail of this sort in future posts so that (a) we have a record of when we, say, started the broccoli, (b) give readers a better flavor of the daily schedule, and (c) give potential WWOOFers and interns a better idea of what they can expect from a stay here.

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Sunday, Dec. 15th – Tuesday, Dec. 17th 2012

December 19th, 2012 Comments off

A three-day entry! I am not really neglecting my blogging – its just that we
Conrad Blunckare winding down for the holidays a bit and I have less to report. On Sunday, I got up to milk for the 1st time in days. Chris and Conrad represented us at church. I spent some time in the forge with Conrad during the afternoon, milked, and went to the evening children’s program. Julia was with her family. Monday and today we moved the hoop house a little closer to getting plastic – we probably would have tackled the plastic except for it being pretty windy today. This was Conrad’s last full day with us – he is leaving in the morning after milking. We will all miss him, and hope he comes back after his Italian fling.

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Friday, Dec. 14th – Sat. Dec. 15th, 2012

December 15th, 2012 Comments off

Hoop House
I have been completely out of it for the last two days due to the flu. Chris, Julia, Conrad, and Noah have been keeping the place going, and making progress as well. The hoop house structure is up and pretty much ready for plastic. We have a load of wood to cut, which we will need. And, cows have gotten milked and fed, poop scooped, chickens fed and eggs gathered. All while I was sleeping. Very humbling.

And, if you are advised to get a flu shot, consider getting it.

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Thursday, Dec. 13th, 2012

December 13th, 2012 Comments off

Hoop House going vertical Today was a “sick day” for me – the “cold” symptoms are apparently the flu. In the words of Vizzini, “Inconceivable!”. I pretty much laid around useless the whole day except for office work. Chris is recovering from her fall yesterday, although she has some lovely new shades of blue on her forehead. Thank God for Julia and Conrad – they finished the vertical hoops for the hoop house and it looks like – a Hoop House! They finished about when it was getting dark, so I didn’t get a good picture of the finished product, but have included one at the 2-hoops point.

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Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012

December 12th, 2012 Comments off

I missed out on most of the fun activities of the day, having a medical appointment in the morning, and a banking trip in the afternoon. In between, I spent my time at the computer, hopefully productively, and nursed symptoms suspiciously like a cold, although we all know that my being sick is impossible. Fortunately, Julia and Conrad rescued the day from being wasted. They finished the second paddock divider in the pasture, and installed all the west-side splice channels on the hoop house. Next, they got the east toe-board attached, so we are moving along pretty well there.
Other than that, the cows got more hay, the chickens got fed, and in general we made the best of a cold rainy day.
On the down side, Chris had a fall and hit her noggin on the bookcase in the office, raising a lump that will be painful for days. She is shaken up, but at this point not injured severely, thank God. We had rotisserie chicken for dinner to save her from having to cook. We are going to turn in early and recuperate.

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Tuesday, Dec. 11th, 2012

December 11th, 2012 Comments off

There was major progress at Woodcrest Farm today. Julia and Conrad started assembling the bows for the hoop house and we hope to have them all up within a few more days. We also ran one of the north-south divisions in the pasture and hooked it up. We’ll see if the livestock respect it. We got most of the hay we brought home yesterday into the barn where it will stay drier, and Julia and Conrad continued their pasture beautification project.
We are going to have to start finding wood soon. We are going through it pretty rapidly. But that can wait for another day.

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Sunday, Dec. 9th – Monday, Dec. 10th 2012

December 11th, 2012 Comments off

Sunday was a what it is supposed to be – a day of rest. We milked and did necessary chores, but spent most of the day restoring our souls. Julia and Conrad traveled out to the Asheville farm Julia worked at last summer for a birthday party and to see good friends. Chris and I had Mykah’s and Jaryn’s cantata to attend at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Durham. The children’s choir contribution was precious, but the entire cantata was profoundly moving. I am glad we got to hear it.
Monday was a lot busier. Conrad and Julia started attaching the splice joints to the hoop house anchors, and I spent most of the afternoon transporting 29 round bales purchased from Tommy Holmes back here. We are not desperate for hay, but they were pretty cheap and we’ll find a use for them, I think. And then we milked. That’s the day.

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